California Marketplace (Buena Park, by Knott’s Berry Farm)


California Marketplace/Knott's Entrance

Left: Stores at California Marketplace. Right: If facing the entrance to Knott’s Berry Farm, California Marketplace is on the left.

Location: Basically, just go to Knott’s Berry Farm. It’s right by the entrance.

Parking: Option 1: Drive into the Knott’s main area across from Independence Hall. Stay to the left and park in the shopping area parking, which is paid parking per hour. Option 2: Drive into the main amusement park parking beside Independence Hall. If you’re going north on Beach Blvd., this is on the right side. You can also get there by taking Option 1 but staying to the right, which will lead back around to the theme park parking area; the charge for this is currently a flat rate of $15. A pathway takes you under Beach Blvd. to the other side where the shops are.

California Marketplace is probably most often visited as the souvenir-shopping portion of a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm—but you don’t have to go to the theme park to get there and take advantage of its one-of-a-kind atmosphere. I find that everything there is very cute (for lack of a better word) and family friendly. A lot of great gift shops make their home there, which makes this such an enjoyable shopping place.

Notable Shops at California Marketplace

Department 56

The Emporium is the perfect place for Department 56 fans, where several Christmas villages and a Halloween village are set up.

The Emporium. At this shop, it’s Christmas all year round! Christmas trees with decorations are always set up here. And if you’re a Department 56 fan (or like me, just like looking at the adorable Department 56 villages), they have several Department 56 setups. (Note: For a while, the Department 56 was at their other shop, Virginia’s, so if it seems to have disappeared from The Emporium, check there instead.)

Berry Market. Baking and other food-related gifts can be found at the Berry Market. There is a thorough selection of Knott’s jellies and other similar items not available at the grocery store (e.g., Knott’s muffin mix, pancake mix, etc.). They also have chocolate.

Virginia’s Gift Shop. Virginia’s is a huge gift shop—I kind of think of it as Hallmark times 10. Little gifts, such as keychains, etc., can be found here, as can stained glass and collectible items. There’s also a section with T.V. and movie-type gifts, such as Star Trek and Betty Boop items.

Velvet Snoopy

Snoopy fans (like me) can spend tons of time looking at all the Peanuts items, such as this colorful fuzzy figurine.

Snoopy Headquarters. Who doesn’t like Snoopy? It doesn’t matter if you’re a young or not-so-young Snoopy fan—I always find something here that’s fun to browse. From Snoopy toys to collectibles, this is one of the “Snoopiest” stores there is. Items you don’t expect, such as plush versions of Snoopy’s brothers (Marbles, Olaf, Andy and Spike) and his sister Belle, are also here.

More California Marketplace stores are listed on the California Marketplace website.

Although dining will likely be covered in later posts, it would not be right of me not to mention a couple of the restaurants at California Marketplace up front. First, there is the famous Chicken Dinner Restaurant, which is definitely worth the visit; there’s also a to-go section if you don’t want to go in the sit-down restaurant. Also, there’s a Pink’s hot dog restaurant (the one in L.A. is very well-known).

If gift stores, Snoopy or Department 56 are of interest, California Marketplace is definitely worth the visit—and admission to Knott’s is not necessary. It’s easy to either spend a lot on gifts or just browse at all the fun items.

My favorite areas of California Marketplace are Snoopy Headquarters and the Department 56 items. What are your favorites? —SoCal Shopping Place

Nearby: Indoor Swap Meet of Stanton